IN THE MIDDLE of October I was treated to a live performance by Dave Gorman, an event I can only describe as painfully enjoyable. Why painful? Because I remember clearly having a pain in my side from laughing too hard. What wasn’t on my side, however, was luck. The show ran on and the time for my last train home was drawing ever near. About 15 minutes before my train arrived at the station I had no choice; I had to leave. I began to collect my things as he continued the show, and there was a brief moment when I seriously weighed up the pros and cons of being stuck in a town I had only just visited the very same night to watching the rest of the performance. If claiming that you were torn between getting home and staying to endure more literal side-splitting isn’t a compliment, I honestly don’t know what is.
I can see this review getting somewhat confusing, Modern Life is Goodish is hosted by comedian Dave Gorman on a channel which also called Dave, so to save confusion I will be referring to Dave as Dave and Dave as Gorman, sorted? Good.
I have long considered Gorman to be an underrated comedian, not to say that he struggles for work or doesn’t already have a fan following but rather despite many years of television, radio, books and stand-up is still relevantly unknown to the mainstream eye. This is a huge shame, if I attempt to discuss his work with friends I am met with blank stares. The only thing more unknown is that Dave (the TV channel don’t forget) actually produces original content for their channel, with Modern Life is Goodish being the highest rated show of their original line-up. I imagine because as far as I’m aware all others are cheap panel shows.
MLIG has just finished its second series, which quite surprised me as I wasn’t aware there had been a first series. The whole show is centred around Gorman on stage with a PowerPoint presentation discussing various experiences and elements that makes modern life… well, goodish. In essence, it’s about Gorman pulling back the veil on things that hide in the background and expose them, but instead of saying, “Oh, isn’t this terrible,” its more of the attitude of, “Hey, if you look closely at the small details, the world is a pretty funny place.” This ranges from Lord Alan Sugar tweeting about a kebab place to the injustice of tea and coffee, as well as people saying from something to something else, implying there’s a spectrum between the two.
This is British culture and attitudes cross-examined and questioned to various levels. It’s difficult to critique comedy as it’s really depends upon an individual’s comedic taste, but I can tell you that Gorman’s performance is complimented by his years of comedy experience. Jokes are continually set-up but not always being immediately obvious and a punchline delivered further down the line often catches you joyfully off-guard.
Every week Gorman presents what he calls a ‘found poem’ which is a series of internet comments from news stories told against a classy music back-drop, this segment can either be the strongest part of the show or the weakest. The comments made by actual people are hilarious and it’s always amusing to see Gorman trying his hardest not to laugh, however the segment doesn’t always land so well or feels out of pace with the show.
What’s handy about the show is that you’re going to be able to tell if you like it from the first section of any episode, as the humour and style always carry on in the same way. I do highly recommend giving it at least a try, especially if you’re unaware of who Gorman is. You may even decide that you’d want to look at life more closely for the small hidden moments of joy.
Depending on when you check you can catch episodes on Dave’s on-demand service online or, let’s be honest, continually repeated on the channel.